Senior Companion Program announces July Senior Companion of the Month

This a picture of Earl at eleven years old in 1948. It was the year Joe Louis retired and Babe Ruth died. (Photo courtesy of Phelps County Senior Companion Program)

Earl Pilger, a long-time St. James resident, was named Senior Companion of the Month for July 2021. 

Pilger has been a Senior Companion since 2008 and says it's one of the best choices he has ever made.  

Pilger was the Senior Companion van driver for a short time taking volunteers to client’s homes and to nursing home stations until the bus was sold.  He also volunteered at the Missouri Nursing Home.

Pilger grew up in St. Louis and St. James, with one sister. 

He joined the Air Force after high school and later worked as a federal employee in the finance and payroll division and also in personnel. 

Pilger married a traveling Gospel singer and traveled to nearly all the United States with his wife. 

They enjoy gospel and '50s and '60s music.  

After retirement, Pilger worked at the St. James Tourist Center and the St. James Golf Course.  

He enjoyed coaching soccer and attending school ball games, and school functions, and spending time with his two children and four grandchildren. 

Pilger remembers board games with his family, Saturday afternoon matinees and trading movie star pictures with his friends. 

But mostly, he remembers being part of the St. Louis Cardinals and Brown’s Knot-Hole gang walking miles to get to the National League Sportsman's Park on Grand Boulevard, where major leagues played, to get a free admission.  

He also remembers watching Elvis Presley and American Band Stand on TV and his cousin teaching him to dance.   

And he remembers in 1955 the first Polio vaccine being a requirement to attend school.  

“Unlike COVID,” Pilger says, “Polio affected kids, leaving them visually crippled. Nobody objected to the Polio vaccine. COVID, on the other hand, affects adults who can sometimes recover.”

As Senior Companion of the Month, Pilger received a floral arrangement donated by Blossom Basket Florist and a $10 Sinks gift card.

The Senior Companion Program is sponsored by the Phelps County Commission, funded by a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service — now known as AmeriCorps Seniors — as well as several local groups and individuals.  

Residents who know a Phelps County resident who might benefit from the services of a Senior Companion or someone who is 55 or older who would like to become a Senior Companion, call 573-458-6180 for further information. 

Earl Pilger